7 Changes That Would Offer More Support for Women in Marketing

From representation to friendlier pricing structures

Women weigh in on what they want from marketing, advertising, media and each other.
Women weigh in on what they want from marketing, advertising, media and each other. Getty Images
Headshot of Ko Im

Key insight:

Women are winning in many ways. Some of them stand as the driving force behind disruptive challenger brands. They’re taking on leadership roles, starting their own companies, bringing new ideas to life, starring in counterculture campaigns, fundraising, no longer being retouched and even sharing their struggles about building a brand.

But while awareness about women in marketing is rising, we still have a ways to go. We asked some female leaders in the space where they see opportunities for more growth and change.

These interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Women-centered design

What women need more of right now are actual products and services designed with us in mind—from sports equipment to cars, food and medication. Each product can be more thought through, and not just being colored pink or pastel. It’s about how it feels and fits, which makes us feel that products were actually designed with our size, preferences, proclivities and desires in mind.
—Cecilia Pagkalinawan, CEO, BRWN Media

Set up a friendly pricing structure

Women need more pricing-friendly channels for marketing, advertising, retail and branding. It wouldn’t be totally crazy for us to call on Google and Facebook and other big firms in these industries to set up a more friendly pricing structure for women-owned businesses. It will truly make a big difference.
—Elle Wang, CEO and founder, Emilia George

Represent with women

If you want to develop an authentic brand, your target audience better have representation within your company’s leadership. Capital partners should be focused on companies that prioritize representation in a meaningful way.
—Kaitlyn Barclay, CEO and co-founder, Scout Lab

Support working moms

The good news is that many agencies have started supporting the logistical needs for moms, such as pumping support and backup child care. Unfortunately, the agency world is still a tough place to be a working mom. Our research shows that only a third of working moms in advertising would recommend their agency to other working moms. Agencies can support their working moms with leadership development programs targeted at moms that rely on coaching, and forming strong communities of other moms in similar situations.
—Kari Clark, founder, Uplift Parents

Foster mentorship programs

Mentorship between women in advertising has taken off in a really positive way over the past few years. Companies are facilitating and encouraging internal mentorship and organizations like Fellow, She Runs It, and Adweek’s Executive Mentor Program are making it easier than ever for women to support their peers in their professional journeys, helping more women succeed in their respective careers and take on more leadership roles.
Kirsten Baumberger, founder, minisocial.io

Shift imposter syndrome

A lot of women feel uncomfortable marketing and selling themselves. This stems from the fact that many women aren’t clear on the value they bring to the table and struggle with imposter syndrome. The very first step to women marketing themselves effectively is to unpack the makings of their secret sauce (what makes them shine) so they can shift their imposter beliefs and show up to the outside world in their power and be magnetic in their own unique way.
—Brielle Friedman, brand strategist

Cultivating a supportive female network

I think of networking as less about needing something from someone or trying to capitalize off someone else, and more about building a genuine connection that feels supportive, knowing that the relationship is mutually beneficial. I would help her; she would help me. A rising tide lifts all boats. If you take care of your network, it will take care of you.
—Samantha Patil, co-founder and CEO, Well Traveled


@koimtv ko.im@adweek.com Ko Im is the community editor at Adweek and co-host of Adweek's podcast Yeah, That's Probably an Ad.
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